Scott Cummings expects a backlash from Edinburgh at BT Murrayfield on Saturday after Glasgow’s opening 1872 win – but says the Warriors pack don’t get bullied by anyone anymore.
The Warriors’ 20-16 win last weekend was the first they’d come out top in the first game since Dave Rennie became coach, and only their second win in the inter-city opener since 2014. Edinburgh now have to win this weekend’s game to have any designs on retaining the trophy they’ve held for the last two years, and Cummings expects a reaction.
“I think the backlash would come either way, whoever won and whoever lost,” he said. “They’ll definitely come at us, and it is up to us to react as well because I’m sure it will be an even bigger occasion.
“Obviously, it sometimes feels a bit different playing at Murrayfield, because a lot of our guys have played a lot of games there before. But Edinburgh are going to be the same as us: they are not going to want to lose at home.
“We’re going to have to step up and be better than we were at the weekend. We made it pretty tough on ourselves, I can’t imagine what the penalty count was against us (15-10), so that is something we have to look at and get better at, because we allowed them into the game a lot of our own ill-discipline.”
Part of that may come from the Warriors’ pack trying to dispel the perception that they’re easy to push around, and the club are all back artistry and no grunt.
“A lot of people come up here and think that Glasgow aren’t that tough a team,” he said. “We feel that some of the English and Irish teams think they can come here and bully us, so we always have that mantra that ‘we don’t get bullied’.
“As a forward pack, we know that if we go out there and win that physical battle, then we have the execution in the backs to go and play that exciting brand of rugby we love. But it all starts with the forwards – if we’re not getting good ball to play with then the backs can’t do their thing.
“I think we’ve shown in the last couple of weeks that we can play different ways, and actually win battles up front. So, as a forward pack, we were really focussing on that, and I think we came out quite strongly in that area.
“(Forwards coach) John Dalziel has done a lot of work with us to be more dominant as a pack. We know there is still areas we can improve, but we’re happy that we are starting to get some results there.”
The underlying narrative in the 1872 Cup games is always the Scotland one with the Six Nations now just a month away, and with Cummings forcing his way into the picture for the international second row during an outstanding campaign in the build-up to the World Cup and while in Japan. Now he locks horns with Scotland rivals Grant Gilchrist and Ben Toolis again.
“It makes some difference, although we go into it having our process regardless of who we are playing,” he said.
“But when you are carrying up the ball, and you are up against one of them, then you are going to out that little bit more into it – and I’m sure they would say the same – that’s just natural.
“We’re all obviously fighting for Scotland places but that’s at the back of your mind. Glasgow means so much to us, especially for someone like me, who has grown up in the city. I don’t go out there to play for Scotland, I go out there to play for Glasgow – and whatever comes from that is a separate thing.”